Last week I saw some incredibly rare things in Dublin. I saw full-body Irish flag lycra suits, American Top Team invaded Nandos, and Andrei Arlovski answering a question with a smile (just one mind you).
Nothing impressed me more, however, than the performance Ben Rothwell put on last week. You see, Ben Rothwell wasn’t competing in the cage, he was competing outside of the cage with a number of different emotions that must have been sweeping over him.
Disappointment – that his arranged bout with Stipe Miocic bout had been cancelled less than 2 weeks before fight night; meaning he wouldn’t be able to compete in front of the much-lauded Dublin environment.
Anger and perhaps embarrassment – at the fact that merely days after this fight cancellation he had been overlooked by the UFC for an upcoming bout featuring a fellow ‘guest fighter’ for the week AND the guy that pulled out of his fight that week injured (why not throw bitterness in!!)
BUT … this is where it gets interesting because Ben Rothwell didn’t do what most would have done: moaned and complained.
He proceeded to speak to the press openly, gave us answers that were honest and showed us the same respect we showed him. That was merely just the tip of the iceberg of Ben’s behaviour.
Like he did at UFC International Fight Week in July, he showed an eagerness to turn up at any place he could in Dublin. He didn’t perform any theatrics or put on an act to grab attention, he simply did everything with a smile on his face and simply told the truth.
He greeted fans, took their pictures and engaged with every single one of them until the last person in line got a chance to meet with him. At the fan Q&A, he simply stole the show. Many of us in the media sit there and cringe at most of those Q&As but Ben, together with Rory, made it an entertaining 45 minutes that flew past for everyone.
Watch this video with me speaking to Ben after the UFC Dublin event had concluded. Apologies about the dark lighting but it’s actually quite appropriate given the mood he was probably in at the time.
When he said ‘I shed a little tear’ it wasn’t a sign of weakness, more just a revealing moment that let me know Ben hurt inside at not being able to compete.
Ben Rothwell 100% would have rather of been fighting last week but I tell you he was one of the stars of the week for me.
Ask any Irish fan now what they think of Ben Rothwell and I bet you won’t be able to find a single one that has any ill feelings towards him.
This was Ben Rothwell school 101 on how to man-up, take s*** news and roll with it until things are in your advantage.
Other fighters should really take note of the masterclass he put on last week, I’ve no doubt Ben has big things coming very soon and now he’s even got the fighting Irish behind for back-up.
No More “Nice Boy” for Norman Parke Ahead of KSW 40
MMA Latest spoke to ‘Stormin’ Norman Parke, as he prepares for a rematch against Mateusz Gamrot at KSW 40 on October 22nd, where the lightweight title is on the line.
Parke (23–6–1) is a 9-time UFC veteran who won The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes tournament back in 2012. He lost to Gamrot by decision in their first fight at KSW 39. It was an extremely close and highly controversial fight, due to a finger bite from Gamrot during a grappling exchange on the canvas.
Q: KSW said they were going to review the bout because of the bite, did they ever speak to you again regarding this?
No, they didn’t. Mark Goddard and Tomasz Bronder sat down after the fight and had a discussion, but it was basically my word against his. They said nothing is going to be done about it so I thought, either pay me my win bonus, or set up a rematch then.
Before facing me I don’t think Mateusz had ever lost a round, he’s always dominated in the cage. Whenever people see him come up against someone who can defend that take down like myself, they realise he’s got problems on the feet, and they now know I’m a bad matchup for him.
Q: Given you could be a champion after this fight, do you expect a contract offer from KSW that is considerably better than your current one?
After this fight, I’ve got one more on my contract for KSW. Of course, I want that money to be going up. Mateusz has been brought up by this promotion his whole career, I respect that he’s still champion, but at the end of the day I have the same goals and want that.
Because of that, I don’t want the judges having any type of favouritism, it’s happened to me before in the likes of Brazil so I’m pissed off about that. I need to get my job done before the time runs out, that way there’s nothing anybody can say because the ball is in my court.
Q: Of course there was the bite, but what else pissed you off about the way he fought in the first fight?
I always show up to fight, I want this guy just to fight me, because in the last fight he was running away the whole time. I mean he’s the champion, come on! Show me something, stand in the middle and fight, don’t be on the back foot running away.
Q: For the first time in the history of KSW, this is a title fight that is contracted for five rounds. Does the extra 10 minutes alter your preparation in camp at all?
No not really, I mean the training I had for Francisco Trinaldo was the best, it was on point everything was perfect. But once I came to fight, after the first round I felt like someone had stuck a hot knife in my chest I couldn’t even breathe.
I think it’s more mindset to be honest I really do. Given this fight is going for or five rounds it’s no problem at all, in the last fight he was a lot more tired than me, I just kept coming forward and I could have done that for another two more rounds.
Q: Is there any animosity towards Matuesz as a person, or do you leave the tension between you two for fight purposes only?
We did speak after the fight, I spoke about the rematch and he wanted me to fight Renato Gomes Gabriel instead. I said, why’s that? So this is how it is, you just don’t want to fight me again. When we went to Poland to promote the fight some of the fans who were young kids went up to take a picture with him, and he didn’t want to take any pictures, it’s things like that I don’t like about him, like he’s upper-class and got something shoved up his arse.
Q: I asked Norman to explain the following quote he commented on one of his most recent Facebook posts,
“Can you picture how famous I would be if there was the tri-color wrapped around me, its a statement to why the guys from the north have to work harder to get the proper recognition they deserve“
I’m probably going to rattle people cages, but it’s absolutely true. People in England don’t really like you because you’re “Half British half Irish’, and then people in the south say stuff like “Oh you’re building the British government.”
When I fought in the UFC they wouldn’t even let me wear my own flag. They said no every time they said no, and I was like why? If you’re an American would you come out with a Canadian flag? I found it a disgrace.
Q: Will Gamrot again be apprehensive on the feet to trade with you and look to make it a wrestling match? How will you become the new KSW lightweight champ?
He needs to knock me out or submit me, because its five rounds. I’m a better boxer than him, I can defend a takedown, I feel like I’m better than him. I think it’ll come down to who wants it more, and I want it more, I think if the going gets tough he will break and quit, I can just see it in him.
I’m not being the nice boy anymore, I’m taking this sh*t a bit more seriously and being more aggressive in there, I need to go in there and not give a f*ck, talk to him, taunt him, have no stress and no worries.
You can watch Parke in action next weekend at KSW 40 on the organisation’s official website, https://kswtv.com/, you can also watch it on the Irish TV channel, eir Sport. The card will begin at 17:00 BST.
KSW 40: Ariane Lipski Faces Mariana Morais for Flyweight Title
KSW women’s flyweight champion Ariane Lipski will defend her title against Brazilian Mariana Morais at KSW 40 in Dublin, Ireland.
Lipski (9-3) is coming into KSW 40 on a seven-fight winning streak. She last fought against Diana Belbita in May, winning by submission in the first round. “Violence Queen” was involved in KSW 33’s Knockout of The Night, when she defeated young Polish prospect Katarzyna Lubonska with a beautiful combination of strikes.
After this fight “Violence Queen” had an incredible rise and ended up becoming a fan favorite in Poland. Many fans had compared her to Joanna Jedrzejczyk due to her fantastic striking skills.
Morais (12-4) makes her debut for KSW against Lipski. The former Invicta fighter is coming to KSW 40 on a two-fight winning streak. She won her last fight against Vitoria Ferreira by knockout in the second round.
Now that this title fight between Ariane Lipski and Mariana Morais is confirmed, here are all your other fights for a fantastic card as Dublin hosts KSW 40:
- Mariusz Pudzianowski vs James McSweeney – Heavyweight bout
- Mateusz Gamrot vs Norman Parke – Lightweight Title Fight
- Michal Materla vs Paulo Thiago – Middleweight bout
- Ariane Lipski vs Mariana Morais – Flyweight title bout
- Maciej Jewtuszko vs David Zawada – Lightweight bout
- Michal Fijalka vs Chris Fields – Light-heavyweight bout
- Lukasz Chlewicki vs Paul Redmond – Lightweight bout
- Konrad Iwanowski vs Paul Lawrence – Welterweight bout
KSW 40: An In Depth Look at the Dublin Card
KSW Federation is heading to Ireland on the 22nd of October. The promotion will host KSW 40, which will take a place in Dublin’s 3Arena.
The fight card is close to being finalised, and we can expect to see yet another great show from the Polish organization.
In the main event, ex–strongman and Polish superstar Mariusz Pudzianowski (11-5) fights against a legend of both K1 and MMA, James McSweeney (15-15). Mariusz was victorious in his last fight winning by KO in the second round against another former Polish strongman, Tyberiusz Kowalczyk (3-1).
McSweeney is the less active fighter of the two, as this will be his return to the cage after a one-year lay off. “The Hammer” last fought at AFC 17, where he suffered a first round TKO loss to Tai Tuvasa.
There is no bad blood between Pudzianowski and McSweeney coming into this heavyweight bout, but given the size of both men and their finishing capabilities, you can be sure this fight will not reach the judges scorecards.
The co-main event of KSW 40 features a lightweight title fight between current champion Mateusz Gamrot (13-0), and Norman Parke (23-6-1).
Gamrot is still undefeated and the undisputed KSW champion, but his first fight with Parke was extremely close, so now it’s time for the big rematch. A polar opposite to the tension in the main event, both Gamrot and Parke despise each other and this was epitomised by Parke’s most recent social media post.
For the first time in the history of KSW, this is a title fight that is contracted for five rounds. Neither Gamrot or Parke have ever been five rounds in their MMA careers, so it will be interesting to see how their stamina holds up if this fight does reach the later rounds.
Another exciting fight at KSW 40 is Michal Materla (24-5) facing Brazilian fighter Paulo Thiago (18-9). Materla is an ex-middleweight champion of KSW, and in his last fight he won against a household name in Rousimar Palhares. Following his knockout victory over Palhares, Thiago will look to build on his three-fight winning streak in his debut for KSW.
KSW 40 will be avaliable to watch on KSW’s official website, https://kswtv.com/, you can also watch it on the Irish TV channel, eir Sport. The card will begin at 17:00 BST.
Written by Przemek Kosinski
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